Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.
As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political, religious or commercial agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of ideological or commercial warfare.
While the term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples (e.g. Nazi propaganda used to justify the Holocaust), propaganda in its original sense was neutral, and could refer to uses that were generally benign or innocuous, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging persons to report crimes to law enforcement, among others.
The term started to gain currency in 1622, when a new branch of the Catholic Church was created, called the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith), or informally simply Propaganda. Its activity consisted in a group of cardinals pitching Catholicism in non Catholic countries.
From the 1790s, the term began being used also for propaganda in secular activities. The term began taking a pejorative connotation in the mid-19th century, when it was appropriated from religion to the political sphere. Its political use became particularly significant during World War I.
The most well-known originator of Roman historiography was Quintus Fabius Pictor (3rd century BCE). His style of writing history defending the Roman state actions and using propaganda heavily eventually became a defining characteristic of Roman historiography.